In the Old Testament, God chose the Jews to be His special people. He revealed Himself to them, and gave them His word through Moses and the prophets. But even though He didn't show Himself as clearly to other peoples, He was always willing to accept those who sought Him. His grace and mercy extended even to the enemies of the Jews. In 2nd Kings 5, we see how the captain of the army of a nation that had raided the land of Israel came to know the one true God.

2 Kings 5:1

1 Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him Yahweh had given victory to Syria: he was also a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.

From this description, it sounds like Naaman has a lot going for him. He has power, as commander of an army. He has fame, as he has been victorious in battle. He is highly regarded by the king, one of the most powerful men in the world. Undoubtedly, he also had great wealth. From this, you could say Naaman was a successful man. There are many who would love to be in a position like that.

But that doesn't explain his true condition, because he was a leper. The value of everything that Naaman had pales in comparison to this. Leprosy is a very nasty skin disease. As I understand it, lepers break out in sores all over the body, then become deformed and slowly waste away. Those infected with leprosy would give anything to be free from the disease, but nothing could be done. There was no cure. Nobody would want to be in a position like that.

But in a sense, we are. There is a malady in the world today that is much more debilitating than any disease, and that is sin. All of us are infected. The bible says "All have sinned" (Rom 3:23). It is fatal. The outcome of sin is death (Rom 6:21). One day, our hearts will stop beating and our bodies will become a cold, dead, corpses. But we made up of more than just a material body. Each of us also has an immaterial soul, and that also is doomed to die. The soul who sins, he shall die. (Eze 18:4). When the body fails, it decays into nothingness, but if the soul dies, it doesn't just cease to exist. It is cast into the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death (Rev 21:8). It is a place of darkness (Mat 22:13) and eternal punishment (Mat 25:46), away from the presence of the Lord (Mat 25:41).

2 Kings 5:2-3

2 The Syrians had gone out in bands, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maiden; and she waited on Naaman's wife. 3 She said to her mistress, "I wish that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would heal him of his leprosy."

For the first time, Naaman hears a ray of hope. He learns that a cure is available. Friends, there is good news for you as well. Salvation from the curse of sin is available - not salvation from physical death (God has never promised us that our bodies won't die, though he has promised they will be raised again), but salvation from eternal punishment in hell. Jesus can save you. If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Rom 10:9)

2 Kings 5:4-6

4 Someone went in, and told his lord, saying, "The maiden who is from the land of Israel said this."

5 The king of Syria said, "Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel."

He departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 He brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, "Now when this letter has come to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy."

I think Naaman is doing the right thing. The servant girl said that the prophet was in Samaria, which was the capital of Israel, so Naaman goes there. Apparently, he doesn't know how to find the prophet, so he goes directly to the king of Israel, hoping that he can direct him to the prophet. However, the king of Israel questions Naaman motives.

2 Kings 5:7-8

7 It happened, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he tore his clothes, and said, "Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends to me to heal a man of his leprosy? But please consider and see how he seeks a quarrel against me."

8 It was so, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, "Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel."

The king of Israel was a mere man. He knew that he could not cure leprosy. Similarly, no mere man - no evangelist, no pastor, no teacher, no bishop, and not even the pope - can save anyone from the fate of eternal punishment after death brought about by sin. But the king could have referred Naaman to the prophet Elisha, who spoke for God. What we can do is point out what God has told us in His word, the bible. It contains the Good News of Christ, which is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes (Rom 1:16). Those who listen to the bible with an open mind will know that God has spoken.

2 Kings 5:9-12

9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall come again to you, and you shall be clean."

11 But Naaman was angry, and went away, and said, "Behold, I thought, 'He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leper.' 12 Aren't Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn't I wash in them, and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage.

The message from the prophet Elisha was a simple one - "Go wash in the river Jordan". The salvation message in the bible is just as simple - "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). Jesus Christ was the Son of God. He came to this earth as a man, and lived a perfect life without sin (Heb 4:15). He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf; so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21). It is through Him and him alone that we can be saved.

Elisha's message was offensive to Naaman. He thought "Why should I wash in the Jordan? There are better rivers in Damascus". But the river Elisha said to wash in was the Jordan. No other river would work. The way of salvation is also exclusive. There is only one way - through Jesus. There is salvation in none other, for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, by which we must be saved! (Acts 4:12). This may be offensive to some people, but these aren't my words. They are the words of God.

2 Kings 5:13-14

13 His servants came near, and spoke to him, and said, "My father, if the prophet had asked you do some great thing, wouldn't you have done it? How much rather then, when he says to you, 'Wash, and be clean?'"

14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

After his servants talked to him, Naaman took a moment to reconsider. What he had been asked to do was simple. Why not do it? So he did, and his leprosy was healed. The same can be true for you as well. If you have never put your trust in Jesus, why not do it today? If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Jesus invites you. He said "Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn't come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life" (John 5:24). Accept his invitation, and start following Him today.